Driver charged in fatal accident involving West student
Barbara Harrison Smith has been charged with felony passing a stopped school bus causing death following an accident this morning that killed West Rowan High School junior Makinzy Jordan Smith, 17.
Makinzy Smith was struck by Barbara Smith in a Honda Civic as he was crossing Woodleaf Road to board his school bus, which was stopped and had turned on its flashing lights and stop sign.
Emergency personnel, family members and staff of Rowan-Salisbury Schools were quickly on the scene of the accident, which happened at 6:35 a.m. Part of Woodleaf Road, near Godbey Road, was closed for a few hours.
A witness, James Cottrell, said he was two cars behind the bus. He said the bus driver had turned on all the warning lights. Barbara Smith’s Honda Civic was going in the opposite direction on Woodleaf Road. Cottrell said it appeared the Honda did not slow down and struck the boy.
Cottrell called 911 and received instructions from communications dispatchers to perform CPR, but his efforts were not successful.
The driver of the Honda, Barbara Smith, 57, of 1600 Goodson Road, has been charged with felony passing a stopped school bus causing death. There is no indication that the victim and the driver are related.
The speed limit on Woodleaf Road is 55 mph, but there was no indication Barbara Smith was going over the speed limit. A person who reconstructs wrecks will determine the exact cause and speed, said N.C. Highway Patrol First Sgt. F.C. Ferguson.
Barbara Smith was taken from the scene by the Highway Patrol to the Rowan County Magistrate’s Office and given a $1,000 bond. She came from the office with the hood of her jacket pulled over her head. Smith was clutching tissues and looked as if she’d been crying. She will make her first appearance in court Oct. 21.
Rita Foil, spokeswoman for Rowan-Salisbury Schools, confirmed the student was a junior at West. She said grief counselors will be at the school today.
There were about 20 students aboard the school bus who witnessed the accident. The students were taken off the bus and placed on another bus. The students were then taken to school.